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Biodegradability of Effluent Dissolved Organic Nitrogen: Impacts of Treatment Technology, Process Variables, and Other Effluent Water Quality Parameters

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The purpose of the study was to measure the recalcitrant and biodegradable fractions (rtDON and btDON) of dissolved organic nitrogen in the effluent of various BNR treatment plants. The results presented here were part of a larger research initiative to investigate the sources and fates of dissolved organic nitrogen at numerous BNR plants along the east coast. The focus of this work was to measure the btDON in the effluent of four plants utilizing different BNR treatment technologies, and attempt to determine how treatment technology type, process control and operational variables and other effluent water quality parameters may impact the magnitude and fraction of effluent btDON. The study showed that a 30-day btDON assay could be used to reliably and consistently measure effluent biodegradable nitrogen. The results suggest that plants with high levels of effluent DON could benefit from a better understanding of btDON and rtDON fractions. Such an understanding could aid in the development of process optimization techniques that focus on the removal of effluent DON, and may provide valuable information for the selection and design of future plant upgrades. The results also show that SRT may have an impact on the concentration of btDON and the relative degree of biodegradability of effluent DON. When comparing other waste water quality measures to the btDON results, only filter floc DON correlated with btDON. However, the ffDON often underestimated the biodegradable fraction of DON. Results suggest that ffDON may serve as a surrogate for estimating the biodegrabability of effluent DON, but will not account for the entire biodegradable DON in an effluent sample. Finally, the results demonstrate that higher temperatures result in lower btDON values, implying the btDON may play a more significant role during cold weather operations.

Keywords: Biodegradable dissolved organic nitrogen; activated sludge; ffDON; treatment technology

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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